NTSB Identification: LAX96LA126.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 02, 1996 in SAN MARTIN, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/19/1996
Aircraft: WORTHINGTON BD-5B, registration: N69SW
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, the airplane was in the initial takeoff climb from runway 32, when the engine lost power. He attempted a landing on a freeway median, but the airplane collided with a sign and fence posts. During an investigation, the instrument panel toggle switch, marked 'ignition,' would not stay in the up (on) position. Removal of the switch revealed that its plastic back casing was broken with no impact damage or deformation noted in the surrounding structure. The mechanic, who removed the switch, stated that it was installed excessively tight on the panel. After being removed from the panel, the switch would stay in the up (on) position. The engine was then successfully started and operationally checked.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot/builder's improper installation (overtorque) of the ignition switch on the instrument panel, which caused an internal switch failure and subsequent malfunction of the ignition system.

Full narrative available

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